Photo of Fred Fonseca


Associate Professor
E397H Westgate Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 867-4025
Additional Title(s)
Professor-in-Charge of Social and Organizational Informatics
Ph.D., Spatial Information Science and Engineering University of Maine, 2001
M.S., Public Administration and Computer Science Government School of the Joao Pinheiro Foundation, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1997
B.S., Mechanical Engineering Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil 1978

Fred Fonseca received his Ph.D. in Spatial Information Science and Engineering from the University of Maine in 2001. He has joined Penn State in 2001 as an Assistant Professor. His work on three areas of research, Geographic Information Science, Information Science, and Information Systems, led to many journal papers, research grants from NSF and other agencies, and successful Master’s and Ph.D. students . He received the 2006 Researcher Award from the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) for his foundational work on ontologies in GIS. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007. In his sabbatical leave (2008-2009) from Penn State he developed the project Global Forest Information Systems with Gilberto Camara at INPE and Clodoveu Davis at UFMG. From January 2010 to June 2012 he was the Associate Dean for Education, and later Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. . He was the co-director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning from 2012 to 2015. Fred was also a faculty fellow with the Rock Ethics Institute in the academic year of 2019-2020. Currently he is the Professor in Charge for the Social and Organizational Informatics.

Research Interests

I am studying and developing a hermeneutic understanding of science focused mostly in Data Science. I am looking for a new understanding of reality incorporating both the values of the "traditional" science and the view of proposed by Data Science. This is part of the needed new critical approaches to Big Data in what is being called "Data Ethics". I am trying to create a foundation that let scientists use Big Data in a thoughtful way, creating a more reflexive Data Science, one which is still effective but also deals with the impact that theories have on human life.

Research Keywords
Data Science
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Technology